Spencer is from Canton, Michigan and is called to serve in the Ecuador Quito North Mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints from July 2014 - July 2016.

Monday, November 30, 2015

Week #70 - Coca, Ecuador - November 30, 2015

Dear Family and Friends,

To be really honest, this week has been quite the trial. I use to think that the orient was a calm relaxed area, but my views have now changed.

Most of the week has been blazing sun or pouring rain. I have been telling my companion that we can't walk too much in the sun because it really tires me out. Generally, we don't have to worry much about weather because we are usually teaching people inside. But this week, we had a harder time finding people at home for some reason which made it harder on us since we were outside walking around much more.

Friday (ironically black Friday) was the day that challenged us the most and pretty much changed our plans for the rest of the week. Near our house, we have the bus terminal, and because we don't have a cell phone we go there to make phone calls. We finished all our appointments early for once and we were on our way home. As we were walking on the sidewalk, 2 guys on a motorcycle came on the other side of the road and stopped and one of them got off. I wasn't really paying attention and I was just talking to companion about what we were going to eat for dinner and that maybe we had time to do some exercises. So as the guy came up to me, it was kind of a surprise. He grabbed my shoulder and mumbled something. I could tell he was obviously a little drunk. By instinct, I pushed him away and told him to go away and I kept walking. I took about 3 steps and realized my companion wasn't next to me anymore. I turned around and saw the guy holding my companion by the shoulder with a little kitchen knife in his hand. I got closer to help my companion but the guy told me to back off. He told us that he didn't want money, but that he wanted a cell phone. He continued screaming at my companion telling him, "Give me your cell phone!" During all this, I said a silent prayer in my head and looked around to see if anyone could help us. There were a few people around. They were watching what was happening but no one did anything to help us. 

The guy then demanded for our backpacks and everything we had in our pockets. He took everything we had, flipped us off, then drove off with his buddy with our stuff. Luckily we didn't lose too much, but for my poor companion, the experience was too much for him and he began to cry. They didn't take too much but they did manage to take the keys to our house, $3 dollars from me and $22 from my companion, our missionary agendas, scriptures, my companion's watch and our backpacks. Luckily we were able to beg someone to use their telephone and we called our zone leader for help. We couldn't get in to our apartment, so we slept at their house that night. The zone leader will be going to Quito in a few days and said he will bring back some scriptures for us. We will also fill out a theft report and the mission will help give us the things we need that were stolen.

I was a bit mad after the whole incident but now I realize that we were blessed. We are lucky no one got hurt and that they didn't take anything of value. Honestly though, I feel almost offended for the way he robbed us though. I mean really! All he had was a puny kitchen knife! The guy himself wasn't that big...I was taller than him. And he robbed my companion's watch but not mine?! Ha! Plus he took way more than he is going to use. Most of it will probably be thrown away. Honestly the robbery was pathetic and it makes me laugh thinking about it now. :D If I find the guy again, maybe I'll take him to Detroit so he learn how it's really done and he can stop embarrassing himself! Haha! :p

Anyway, because of the robbery, our Saturday was hard because we didn't have our scriptures. So we asked the members if they had any extra Book of Mormons for us to use. We managed to get one BOM and a Catholic New Testament. And since the robbers took our agendas, we weren't able to follow our plan. All our investigator's phone numbers were in the agendas and now were lost so we couldn't call and remind them to come to church on Sunday. But to our surprise, we had 7 investigators who attended church on Sunday! That was the highest number of investigators attending church that I have ever had in my mission so far. Tender Mercies from the Lord!

Even though it was a hard week, not even adding that we almost got robbed again by 2 big black guys with machetes, it all paid off Sunday. President Ayala came and spoke a wonderfully powerful message. It was probably the most spiritual Sunday that I've had in a long time. Lesson of the week: Even if the week is dark and dim, the Lord will always send his tender mercies! Count your blessings!

Have a great week everyone! Please send prayers our way. It looks like we are in a more dangerous area than I originally thought. And por si acaso you see some shady looking guys with machetes, turn around and walk the other way! That's what we did, and it worked out! The Lord's blessings! ;p

Elder Dyal 

Watermelon and Jackfruit

We ate a Jackfruit this week. It is grown in tropical rainforests. We liked it.

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